Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship predictions: Shinkwin eyes UAE spoils
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James Mason
A win this week will boost Callum Shinkwin's Ryder Cup hopes
A win this week will boost Callum Shinkwin's Ryder Cup hopes

- Yas Links will be hosting the tournament for the first time 
- This is the first Rolex Series event of the season 
- Recommended bet: Callum Shinkwin to win and each-way

The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship heads to Yas Links for the first time this week and a star-studded field will be battling it out in the first Rolex Series event of the DP World Tour season.

Having been played at Abu Dhabi Golf Club since the inaugural edition in 2006 all the way through to 2021, there will be a change in destination for this year's tournament and it will provide a challenge not usually seen in the United Arab Emirates.

Designed by Kyle Philips, Yas Links is the first true links golf course in the Middle East and it is one of the most picturesque to play, as it is set on the water's edge with dramatic views of the Arabian Gulf.

With fast fairways, undulating greens and a whole host of hazards, it is perhaps no surprise to hear that accuracy off the tee and a solid short-game will be key to success this week.

Some of Phillips' other courses include Dundonald Links in Ayrshire — host of the 2017 Scottish Open — and Kingsbarn, which is one of three courses used for the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

With a prize fund of $9,000,000 and a big chunk of Race to Dubai points on offer, this promises to be a fascinating week in Abu Dhabi and one that could end with a certain Englishman landing his third DP World Tour title.

Shinkwin ready to strike

Callum Shinkwin managed to return to the winners' circle at the Cazoo Open in August last year — his first success since 2020 — and he was part of the GB&I team that played in the Hero Cup last week.

The Englishman gave a decent account of himself, taking 1.5 points from his four matches, but that match-play experience will be invaluable as he aims to force his way into Europe's 2023 Ryder Cup team for the event in Italy.

A strong week in Abu Dhabi would certainly boost his standing at this early stage of the season and he is a player that should relish the links challenge, given the fact he has had strong showings at courses similar to Yas Links.

The 29-year-old was second at the 2017 Scottish Open at Dundonald Links, losing out in a playoff to Rafa Cabrera Bello, while he also hit a bogey-free round at Kingsbarn when ending up tied-second at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship last year.

A strong driver of the ball, this looks like a great chance for Shinkwin to get his 2023 off to the perfect start and the 80/1 available with LiveScore Bet is worth considering for an each-way bet.

Swede a fan of links golf

Alex Noren appears well placed to challenge for his 11th DP World Tour title this week
Alex Noren appears well placed to challenge for his 11th DP World Tour title this week

Another player who has an affinity for a links challenge is Sweden's Alex Noren, who recorded his best finish at the 2022 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship when ending up second alongside Shinkwin.

The 40-year-old ended 2022 with a couple of top-five finishes, these coming at the Houston Open and DP World Tour Championship, and he is another that is already in Abu Dhabi after featuring in last week's Hero Cup.

Noren has two top 10s at The Open, further proof that he likes links golf, and the 16/1 on offer with LiveScore Bet looks a good shout as he aims to land his first DP World Tour title since the 2018 Open de France.


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